Live Review: Sunset Sounds Day 2, January 7 2010

Review: Duncan McKimm

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Sunset Sounds
[Photo: Matt Palmer]
  With a dominant lineup from start to finish, the Riverstage was heavily populated from early on the second day of Sunset Sounds. Blessed with pleasingly mild weather again, the general affability of the crowd should be commended – as should the prevalence of shirts on male patrons (why is that so hard at other festivals?).

Having recently released what can only be described as a puzzling third album, Editors brought the air-strike riffs and towering vocals of their first two albums, interspersed with tracks from their strange Kulture Klub meets Ian Curtis new album to the Riverstage. Suffice to say their earlier material like ‘Munich’ and ‘Bullets’ moved the crowd and sounded fantastic through the big sound system. The less said about the few new tracks they brought the better.

The clash of the festival followed, with The Temper Trap and Grizzly Bear on opposite sides of the Botanic Gardens tearing the indie crowd in two. I opted for the Temper Trap, wagering they’d be more energetic than the demure Brooklynites across the way. Without means of comparison, I’m comfortable in my assumption that I was right – Temper Trap were fantastic, tight, energetic and crystal clear vocally. The mix muddied up a few of their tracks, but overall it was evident that this was indeed the same band that was the buzz of Glastonbury 2009. ‘Sweet Disposition’ and ‘Fader’ were crowd favourites, with the former showcasing frontman Dougie’s exquisite vocals and the latter putting the band’s pop-song writing skills front and centre. The only blemish on the set was the brevity – pulling up a full 15 minutes before schedule despite starting on time. For shame!

With the early finish of Temper Trap the temptation was to run over to catch the last of Grizzly Bear, but I held strong in the belief that a good spot for Yeah Yeah Yeahs would be its own reward. An excellent energy-preserving set from Fans DJs made the wait all the more enjoyable. Reports from the final half hour of Grizzly Bear told of one of the strongest sets of the two days.

Exploding onto the stage with ‘Heads Will Roll’, YYYs were spot on with energy and sound. Karen O stalked the stage like some sort of waifish banshee, howling and screeching lyric and banter alike. Even breaking for a few costume changes, including the now-famous leathers for ‘Zeroes’, the energy levels remained strong throughout the set. Giant eye beach balls were dumped into the crowd during ‘Turn Into’, but everything in the set was building towards the final track – who doubted it would be ‘Date With The Night’? Unfortunately noise restrictions (I assume) meant it wasn’t as ear-splitting as the audience would’ve preferred, but the reaction from the crowd was still enormous. A fitting end to the festival, saving the best till last.

Live Review: Sunset Sounds 2010 – Day 1
Photos: Sunset Sounds 2010 – Day 1 by Matt Palmer
Photos: Sunset Sounds 2010 – Day 2 by Matt Palmer
Photos: Sunset Sounds 2010 – by Stuart Blythe